Walking at Dusk

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At dusk

The sound of the waterfall

Reaches our ears before it does our eyes

Nathan and Abby run down the path

In anticipation

Racing each other

Too tempting to clamber down the bank

To the water’s edge

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The old mechanisms of the loch still visible

The rest around it overgrown

Crumbling

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The rock sides grassy now

No doors remain to hold in water

To allow the ships to pass

Vines and trees

Reclaiming what once was movement

And water

Mules pulling ships safely up top

Before the days of steam

Heavy doors controlling the flow of water

Mere physics moving giant boats

Full of cargo

Between the lakes and Erie canal

Reclaimed by time

Not even a placard here to mark

What was

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Mennonite girls in dresses and white caps

Race down the path on their bicycles

A practiced route

And I reflect

Not for the first time

On this community

Enjoying nature and one another

A group of women and children

Gathered on a porch

In their cotton dresses just talking

Not a smart phone amongst them

Preferring conversation and sunlight

And wind and laughter

Working with their hands

To plant and reap

Clean and cook and make

Satisfied with simpler things

Not comparing on each other’s virtual walls

But helping build each other’s actual houses

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I know they are not immune

From the sin nature

But at their church services

They sing

A cappella

Rich harmonies and strong voices

No passive listeners here

Men on one side of the aisle

Women and children on the other

Unencumbered by feminism or fears of patriarchy

Living their lives both male and female

In quiet submission to God

A lovely thing

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Their church sign says all are welcome and they must mean it

Warmly greeting Uncle David as he shows up on his motorcycle

The little boys’ mouths agape

And moving when asked in respectful gentleness to do so

As unknowing he sits on the women’s side

They do not fear the world

Though they choose to live somewhat apart from it

Community not just an aspirational word

But something they live each day

 

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I do not desire to give up my Macbook for a shovel

To give up jeans for cotton dresses

To live apart from the world

Yet

In this Martha world with information overload

And anything you could ever want to know available at the stroke of a few keys

Where we have chosen isolation from one another

I wonder

If, like Mary,

Perhaps they have chosen what is better

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